Name calling

Name calling:

This techniques consists of attaching a negative label to a person or a thing. People engage in this type of behavior when they are trying to avoid supporting their own opinion with facts. Rather than explain what they believe in, they prefer to try to tear their opponent down.

Name Calling and Personal Attack (Ad hominem)

Name calling uses derogatory implications or innuendos to turn people against a rival. For example, in the political world, one group may call another group's beliefs "un-American" when what all they really mean is that they disapprove of those ideas.  The personal attack fallacy narrows in on the character of the opponent instead of addressing the issue at hand, and often occurs in political debate. The name-calling technique was first identified by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis (IPA) in 1938.

According to the IPA, we should ask ourselves the following questions when we spot an example of name-calling.

  • What does the name mean?
  • Does the idea in question have a legitimate connection with the real meaning of the name?
  • Is an idea that serves my best interests being dismissed through giving it a name I don't like?
  • Leaving the name out of consideration, what are the merits of the idea itself?

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